Skip to main content

Music is Hard

SoundNotion

Saxophonist Tim Rosenberg and composer David MacDonald chat about how hard it is to make this music stuff happen. Each show focuses on a single topic. New episodes are released each week.

Archived from iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/music-is-hard/id444792215. Items in this collection are restricted.

PART OF
Podcasts
SHOW DETAILS
up-solid down-solid
eye
Title
Date Published
Creator
Music is Hard
Oct 13, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What are our various professional organizations good for? What are they good (and bad) for? How can we be better members of our professional organizations? How can we make our organizations better? Bonus: Dave shares a personal beef.
Music is Hard
Sep 27, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What does it mean for music to be "accessible"? Why are we seeing a resurgence of accessible music? What do composers owe performers? What do performers and composers owe audiences?
Music is Hard
Sep 13, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
We borrow this week's big question from The Dark Knight. Why so serious? Does humor have a role in classical music?
Music is Hard
Sep 7, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
This week, we are inspired by the recent premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen's gargantuan Mittwoch aus Licht. Why did it take so long to be premiered? How do we think about works that flirt with the border between "impossible" and "really, really hard"?
Music is Hard
Aug 22, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
As musicians, we both love and loathe going to performances by our friends and colleagues. What do you say to performers and composers after a performance? How do you take compliments and criticism from your audience?
Music is Hard
Jul 25, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
When was the last time you thought about your bio? Tim and Dave talk about the importance of a good bio, how to write bios for different audiences, and how to not suck at writing them.
Music is Hard
Jul 18, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
Zachary Woolfe's extremely negative New York Times review of Charlie Siem's recital at Le Poisson Rouge got us thinking about the nature and value of reviews. What are they worth to us as performers, composers, and fans of classical music?
Music is Hard
Jul 11, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 1
favorite 0
comment 0
This week, Avid made some startling announcements about Sibelius, one of the most popular software tools for composers. This got us thinking our relationships with our tools? What would we do if we woke up tomorrow and our tools no longer existed?
Music is Hard
Jul 4, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
Musicians will always be compared to other musicians. How do we deal with feelings of inferiority or inadequacy? Are those feelings negative, or can they have a positive effect?
Music is Hard
Jun 26, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
This week, we were inspired by electronic dance music artist Deadmau5. Often, performances of electronic music (popular and "classical") involve little or no input from live performers. What then, is the purpose of such a performance?
Music is Hard
Jun 20, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
This week, we discuss repetition. Why repeat things? How do composers and performers approach it differently? This week, we discuss repetition. Why repeat things? How do composers and performers approach it differently?
Music is Hard
Jun 14, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
Often, the most difficult part of making music is finding an idea. Where do ideas come from? How are they conveyed in music? What kinds of ideas to performers have to come up with? How and when do we go back and evaluate our ideas?
Music is Hard
Jun 6, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
All too often, composers spend months (years?) writing a new work, performers spend months (years?) preparing them, all for only one performance? Why do we have this problem? What can we do to help new works receive subsequent performances?
Music is Hard
May 30, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
This week, we're inspired by the always brilliant David Smooke's NewMusicBox piece "Repeat Attendance." How do we balance the value of newness and novelty with the seemingly inherent appeal of the familiar?
Music is Hard
May 23, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
Peter Gelb, managing director of New York Metropolitan Opera, has had a rough couple of weeks dealing with journalists. What are the implications for new journalists covering the arts in new kinds of media?
Music is Hard
May 16, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
Tim and Dave respond to Kurt Ellenberger's piece published on the Huffington Post. Ellenberger thinks that education has failed to create new audiences for jazz and classical music, and therefore it doesn't (or won't) work. Tim and Dave disagree.
Music is Hard
May 9, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What is a lyric? Tim and Dave disagree. Can we translate the text without losing it's meaning? Should we? What is lost (or gained) in translation? Thanks to Chloe Veltman for getting us started on the topic.
Music is Hard
May 2, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What happens when musicians become "dancers"? Do players bouncing and swaying around look like idiots, or do their motions contribute something to the performance? Is there a point at which a performer's movement can detract from a strong performance?
Music is Hard
Apr 25, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
Chloe Veltman got us thinking about the nature of the encore. Why do people give encores? What is the value to the audience? What does it take to get a standing ovation? (hint: not much)
Music is Hard
Apr 18, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
Even the style-curmudgeons at the New York Times are throwing around terms like "alt-classical" and "indie-classical." What do these terms mean? Are they valuable labels? Are any such labels helpful?
Music is Hard
Apr 11, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
We return to our award-eligible series of Picks. Tim and Dave talk about what music they've been listening to lately and what's so great about it.
Music is Hard
Apr 4, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
Tim and Dave talk about too much of a good thing. Can you listen to too much music? What do you do when your ears and mind get fatigued? How might we avoid fatiguing our audiences?
Music is Hard
Mar 28, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
Tim provides anecdotal evidence of composers writing an increasing number of short works. Is this a trend that should concern us? What is the importance of scale to our perception of new works?
Music is Hard
Mar 22, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
Just last week, Tim premiered a new work by Dave. How do composers and performers see the process of premiering a work differently? How is giving the first performance of a new work different from performing other works?
Music is Hard
Mar 14, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
This week, we recorded the show right before Tim heads to far-off Tempe, Arizona for the NASA Biennial Conference to premiere a new work by Dave. What's the point of conferences? How do we take advantage of the opportunities they afford us?
Music is Hard
Mar 10, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What does it mean to have a musical identity? How do we develop our own artistic points of view? Where do they come from? Do we consciously create our identity or is it a natural outgrowth of our musical endeavors?
Music is Hard
Mar 2, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
How do we write program notes? Who is the target audience of these notes? Do we really need them at all?
Music is Hard
Feb 16, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What value are the customs we have developed for presenting music? How does our ritual help or harm the concert experience? How can we change the way we present concerts? Is it possible to alter such a thoroughly established ritual?
Music is Hard
Feb 9, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
Making music is a long process. How do you know when you're finished? How do you get from "almost there" to "Eureka! I've got it!"? Are there some problems that run too deep to tweak away?
Music is Hard
Feb 2, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
We agree that musicians have a responsibility to know certain details about the music we make, but how much can we reasonably expect of audiences? Tim wins arguments on the blog of a Pulitzer-winning composer (hint: not Dave).
Music is Hard
Jan 26, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What kinds of music do you really dislike? Why might it be important to try listening to it anyway? What can we learn from music even when we don't expect to like it? How Dave learned to stop worrying and love Philip Glass.
Music is Hard
Jan 19, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What's all this business about SOPA and PIPA? Why is the internet so up (or down) in arms? How might this legislation affect classical music? Why should you care?
Music is Hard
Jan 12, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
How does all that stuff we learned in school about music theory and analysis apply to the way we actually make music? How can we express our own analytical observations in performance and composition?
Music is Hard
Jan 5, 2012 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
It's a brand new year. Now that all the festivities are over, Tim and Dave propose some resolutions for themselves and for music. Yeah, that's right. We speak for all of music. Happy New Year!
Music is Hard
Dec 31, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
While we take a couple of weeks to spend time with family and friends, enjoy some of the best moments from across all of our shows this year: SoundNotion, Music is Hard, and Streamers and Punches. See you in 2012!
Music is Hard
Dec 15, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 1
favorite 0
comment 0
George Carlin said there were seven words you can't say on television, but are there any that you can't say in a concert? What is the value of shocking the audience? Do we need to warn audiences when we present material that might be offensive?
Music is Hard
Dec 8, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What does good (or bad, if you must) programming look like? What do you think of “theme” concerts? How can constructing a good program affect how the audience thinks about the music they are listening to?
Music is Hard
Dec 1, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
As musicians, we have an obligation to stay informed about the music happening around us. How do we discover new music and new scholarship for the first time?
Music is Hard
Nov 17, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 1
favorite 0
comment 0
What good are academic music conferences? Why should we care about them? How can we make them better? Also, this new Google Music thing is pretty rad.
Music is Hard
Nov 10, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
Tim and Dave talk about the transfer of agency from composer to performer. What does the performer owe the composer? Anything? Who is responsible (liable?) for the final presentation to an audience?
Music is Hard
Nov 3, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 1
favorite 0
comment 0
It's not real art unless there is one winner and a lot of disgruntled losers, right? What good are competitions? How do they serve music as a whole and musicians in particular? What can we learn from them? How can we do them better?
Music is Hard
Oct 27, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
How do we determine who our audience is? When we figure that out, how do we reach them? How can we grow our audience? Can we consider people outside our audience?
Music is Hard
Oct 20, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
We respond to listener comments. Tim gives some (more) unsolicited fashion advice. After that, we take on that most eternal of music questions: What are you listening to?
Music is Hard
Oct 13, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What's the difference between good things and crappy things? How do we develop our senses of personal taste in art? Can we convince other people to value the same things in art that we do? Should we?
Music is Hard
Oct 6, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
We continue our discussion of virtuosity, this time examining it from a composer's point of view. How do composers write music that is challenging but not impossible? Should we deliberately try to write hard music? Can composers be virtuosi (5 Italian grammar points!), or is that distinction only for performers?
Music is Hard
Sep 29, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
Yeah, music is hard, but should it sound like it? Performers struggle technically, musically, cognitively, etc., but should the audience see or hear that struggle? Is anything lost or gained in hiding it? Inspired by an eighth blackbird blog post.
Music is Hard
Sep 22, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
How do we promote ourselves online through streaming audio and score PDFs? How can we balance sharing and integrity? Tim and Dave discuss various strategies and common pitfalls.
Music is Hard
Sep 15, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
How can we guide students to make better music while still allowing them to make their own artistic decisions? What important non-technical lessons can we share with students early on?
Music is Hard
Sep 9, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
As musicians, what role do we play in educating non-musicians about what we do? What is the goal of doing so? Why is it important? How can we do it better?
Music is Hard
Aug 24, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What role does notation play in the creative process? How can composers use it to their advantage? How do performers interpret it? Is notation a form of visual art? How do conventional notation, graphic notation, and augenmusik differ?
Music is Hard
Aug 18, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What technologies do we use in performance? Why might we be inclined to use it? What risk do we take in using technology in live performance? How should we react when the technology fails us?
Music is Hard
Aug 10, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What causes writer’s block? How do performers experience it? What can creative people do to get past it?
Music is Hard
Aug 3, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
Can classical music express ideas about politics and current events? If so, how? How does classical music compare to popular music in this regard?
Music is Hard
Jul 27, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What kinds of collaboration are there? With whom can we collaborate? What are the benefits of collaboration?
Music is Hard
Jul 20, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What’s so great about new and social media? How is it different from old media? How should we use it, how should we not use it? What benefits does it bring?
Music is Hard
Jul 14, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
Is it possible to write and talk meaningfully about music? Why does some music writing suck? Why does some music writing transcend? How can we do it better?
Music is Hard
Jul 7, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
How do you fail? How and when do you evaluate? How do you react to failure? What’s so great about failing?
Music is Hard
Jun 30, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What does inspiration even mean? The difference between inspiration and motivation What do you find inspiring? When do you feel the most inspired? How do you maintain that inspiration?
Music is Hard
Jun 23, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What does creativity even mean? When do you feel the most creative? How do you maintain that creativity? How do performers create?
Music is Hard
Jun 16, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
What influences our music? How do we learn from what we listen to? How do we apply our learning to the music we make?
Music is Hard
Jun 9, 2011 Music is Hard
audio
eye 0
favorite 0
comment 0
How much do you listen? How does it help you to become a better musician? What do you listen for? What do you listen to?